A Brighouse teen with a visual impairment has won an award award for her courage.
Billie Lambert followed in the footsteps of her mum and began dancing at the age of two. She went on to win national championships and took up athletics to improve her performance.
The 14-year-old won a sporting achievement award at the Yorkshire Children of Courage Awards last week.
She said: “I’ve always had my heart set on being a dancer because my mum is a dance teacher and she passed on her passion to me.
“I started training to gain stamina for my dancing and that still means a lot to me, but I’m going to keep pushing myself with my running, training and practising and see how far it takes me.”
After transitioning from primary to secondary school, Billie began having problems with her eyesight and was diagnosed with binocular instability.
The condition means that her eyes are sensitive to light and she finds it difficult to write.
Her PE teacher recommended she should train with the Panathlon Challenge, a national children’s charity that provide sports competitions and training days for young disadvantaged and disabled people across the UK.
Billie went to one of the charity’s events and discovered she had a talent for running, which became even more apparent when she joined Halifax Harriers athletics club.
But she didn’t tell her coach, Brian Burgin, about her eyesight and held her own competing against her fully-sighted peers.
After a year of regularly getting annoyed with herself for drifting out of her lane, she came clean to Brian and he was stunned at the standard she had reached despite her disability.
“I never had enough confidence to do sport on my own unless someone else came with me. I was a bit shy,” she said.
“But at Panathlon I saw children whose lives are much harder than mine.
“Witnessing these children being so happy when they’ve got such a different life to everyone else made me realise other kids have it a lot harder than me.
“If I’m lucky enough in the future, I’d like to help kids like them find confidence as I have done.”
Billie, who is in the disability sport classification of T13, is training to qualify for the 2020 Paralympics. Her main events are 100 metres and 200 metres.
She dances in freestyle, contemporary, rock and roll and street competitions. She has been the national U13 street champion for the last two years and, along with her pairs partner, they finished first overall in the rock and roll category.